‘Alex hit a deer. You stick to that story’: Witness testifies man knew suspect fatally hit cyclist

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YORK COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) — The case of one of two defendants in the death of a Yorktown bicyclist will go to the grand jury.

York County Judge Stephanie Merritt found enough evidence against Robert Strickland, 61 of Poquoson, to maintain the felony charge of concealing evidence.

Brian Utne was killed last October near the Piney Point subdivision in Yorktown. He was an avid cyclist.

Alex Crosby is charged with involuntary manslaughter. He waved his preliminary hearing Tuesday afternoon in court.

At the time of Utne’s death, Crosby was an employee for Strickland’s Heritage Gardens tree service.

The lead sheriff’s investigator said Strickland’s description of where he was when Utne was run over was inconsistent. The investigator also said he located a company truck with new parts already installed, and damaged parts nearby.

Despite the judge’s ruling, Strickland’s attorney called it a good day.

“I don’t think their case is as strong as they think it is. My client still maintains his innocence 100%,” said attorney Brent Bohannon. “He was lied to.”

Strickland’s defense is that Alex Crosby lied to him about what had really happened, allegedly telling Strickland that he had hit a deer rather than a person.

But another witness testified that Crosby told him shortly after the accident that he had hit someone on a bicycle.

And several witnesses, including former employee Troy Turpen, said that in a meeting the next day, Strickland told them to stick to a particular story.

“As far as you guys know, Alex hit a deer. You stick to that story, and everything will be fine,” Turpen testified that Strickland told the group.

Another witness testified that he saw front end damage on the truck that Crosby was driving that evening, and the radiator was steaming.

Crosby is charged with two felonies, involuntary manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident involving death or serious injury.

Utne’s cause of death was massive trauma to the torso.

Crosby’s trial date has yet to be set.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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